December 25, 2013
Vol: 20 No: 52

News

Murray names committee for city minimum wage, but supporters of $15-an-hour rate eye initiative

by: Aaron Burkhalter , Staff Reporter

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City Hall’s newest faces have already laid the groundwork to set a higher minimum wage in Seattle before taking office in January.

Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced Dec. 19 that he wants a proposal by May to create a city-based minimum wage higher than the state’s $9.19 an hour. He appointed a committee of 28 people, including politicians, business advocates and labor representatives, to create the plan.

“Is this going to be a city of the rich, or is this going to be a city that is diverse?” Murray said at his press conference.

Murray’s proposal does not nail down a specific number; the committee will determine what minimum pay rate the city should establish, and whether it is a gradual or immediate increase. He had proposed during his campaign a gradual increase to the minimum wage that would eventually reach $15 per hour.

Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant, who made a $15-an-hour minimum wage the platform of her campaign, also joined the committee.

Sawant had held her own press conference two days earlier pledging to propose a $15-an-hour minimum wage ordinance soon after taking office in January. If that failed, she would help push a voter initiative to appear on the November ballot.

Sawant said her commitment to a $15-an-hour rate is unchanged, and she is already pushing the committee to work faster. She wants the committee to complete its work by April, so organizers have time to create a ballot initiative if the work fails.

A city-based minimum wage gained traction this election year as a similar law passed in the city of SeaTac. Voters there narrowly passed a $15-an-hour minimum wage for people working at Sea-Tac Airport, and in hotels, parking lots, rental car companies and restaurants attached to the airport or hotels.

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Comments

If Sonoma County cities can, so can Seattle! Weve an "hourglass economy" too. Low wage "service" & hi wage geek jobs. Petaluma & Sonoma both adopted min. wage laws: http://www.livingwagesonoma.org/

eric Bobcat Wallen | submitted on 12/29/2013, 10:38am


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